Yep, it happened. Those who've looked for my armoury recently will not have found it because it's no longer there; I'm now a horrid Alliance player who packed up from Kilrogg and joined The Flaming Ruby on the Argent Dawn RP server. This, to many, will be a shock - I ran the Eye of Nerzhul for two and a half years, very successfully, and I loved the people I had around me. Unfortunately, though, such a long period of single-handed leadership takes its toll and when I found myself pulling in a direction that the membership at large didn't want, then something had to give.
As gut-wrenching as it was, I had to pass my guild on to people who were more in tune with the social roots the guild should perhaps never have left, and that most of my members hoped the guild could maintain. I cannot thank enough all of those who have supported both the guild and myself over the last two and a half years, especially those responsible for giving me some of the most wonderful memories to take with me. The Eye of Nerzhul will always hold a very special place in my heart and, at its peak, it embodied the very best aspects of what a guild should be; a community of friends enjoying the game together.
But we move on. I should thank Emelia, the GM of The Flaming Ruby, for inviting me into what looks to be a great choice for my new home. I was lucky enough to be invited for their first kill of Nefarian last night, and it was wonderful to just be able to raid without having to worry about how people were playing. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy leading raids and think I'm pretty good at it; but it's absolutely no fun having to moan at your friends who you know for certain are trying their best.
And it's on that subject that we find today's topic:
How does one best fit into a new guild?
This is, in truth, the second time I've done it. The first was on my priest alt who I wanted the chance to raid with back during Icecrown, so I jumped to the Alliance side of Kilrogg and joined a guild that had a decent enough 10 man team. I didn't do it so well. I behaved like a bit of a child, truth be told - as I wasn't on my main, I ended up picking faults with the guild tanks instead of just being the supportive player that I should have been. While this was supposed to be constructive, it must have come out as incredibly obnoxious and unhelpful. I suppose I hid behind the fact that I was playing on an alt, and used that as an excuse for not bothering to compete with the other healers and picking on the tanks. Ultimately, I wasn't looking for a new home and was selfishly trying to complete some content. What I thought was "constructive criticism" was, to them, elitist snobbery that they didn't have to put up with. To their eternal credit, they did put up with it and I cannot be more humbled by their choice to do so.
This time, however, is completely different. I AM looking for a new home, one where I want to be popular and be a valuable contributor to a successful raid team. There is no hiding place whatsoever as I'm on my main character, the one I play best, and will be judged on my ability to tank and to fit into an already successful raid. This, to my amazement, is nerve-wracking; I've no idea how good their normal tanks are, so cannot gauge how I'm performing in comparison. Often, tanks are the best players in a guild, so it's a lot to live up to. This is especially true when you consider that tanks are also usually long-term servants of the guild who've spent a long time building both rapport and trust with their fellow raiders.
And this is the key point; if you're joining a new guild, especially to raid as a tank, what is most important is how you come across to your guildmates and NOT how they come across to you.
You are going to be compared to their normal/current tanks.
You are going to have to potentially fit in with a new system.
You are going to have to accept that your way is less important than their way.
You are going to have to accept that your reputation hangs on how you play.
But more than anything else:
You are going to have to accept that how YOU view your behaviour may not be how your new guild views it.
A new raid will probably hold trust and friendship with their tanks, something it takes time to build. No matter how good a player you are, the new people you're playing with will need time to properly get to know you and how you do things. It's more important that the new guy works around his new team mates, but I'm talking more about how you personally perform as a tank, with all your little idioms and idiosyncrasies in tow. If you consider at all times how you look to your guild mates and always try to play your best (NO COASTING!), then you can hopefully get a positive response.
At time of writing, I cannot tell you how this will all pan out for me. I'll be providing updates no doubt, but we'll have to wait and see if my new guild think I'm cutting it. At the end of the day I'm just trying to be as helpful, reliable, honest and available as I can be, and trying to perform as highly as possible when I'm "in the chair".
Wish me luck. :)